Day 188, Year 2: At Home in Friendly Australia
Date: Monday, October 29, 2007
Weather: Overcast: Winds North 15 Knots
Latitude: S 24 degrees 45.703 minutes
Longitude: E 152 degrees 23.160 minutes
After what is likely the best passage we have had in our two years of cruising we made it to Bundaberg early this morning and anchored in the designated Quarantine area awaiting a call to come into a dock to be processed. Even though many boats arrived today, we were called to come to the Quarantine dock in a very short time. It was windy and we had difficulty getting into the slip without totally destroying a yacht named Gitano, so they let us come to the outside of the dock. There we went through
the very thorough Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine process. Before coming aboard, the Quarantine officer asked if we had any plants or animals onboard. I said we had a plant, but asked Joel from Quarantine if I could tell him my plant story before he came aboard and took my precious ivy away. He replied that I could tell him all the stories I wanted, but the plant had to go. I explained that I grew that ivy for our daughter’s wedding and really wanted it to make it around the world, but Joel
was unmoved. So Joel and a young woman in training named Pita came aboard and the ivy went into the quarantine bag. Everything else that they took, I expected, but what we didn’t expect was that they would go through every cabinet in the boat. They look for bugs of any sort in food and wood products. While Joel and Pita were taking the boat apart, Mark was hosting three people from Customs and Immigration. It was a little crowded, but we made it. Quarantine found no bugs, so they were satisfied,
and the Customs piece was just routine. It was a bit of an ordeal, but we have never met such efficient and friendly officials during our voyage.
The next step was to leave the Quarantine dock and go to our reserved slip where we will spend the next month here in the Bundaberg Port Marina. The young man who runs the marina operation is Jeff and he was very helpful during our moves and extremely friendly as well. By the time we checked in with the marina office and settled in to our marina slip, we felt at home here. There is a fantastic ship’s store like a West Marine in the US where I’m sure we will spend too much money, a little restaurant
and bar, a laundromat, bathrooms with showers, and a complimentary shuttle bus we can take into downtown Bundaberg. What more can a cruiser ask for?
It is early evening, but Mark and I are totally exhausted. Neither of us got more than four or five hours of sleep last night and we are tired. I cut one of my three-hour sleeping shifts short so that Mark could get to sleep for at least two hours of his next three hour shift before we were approaching land. He was up just after 5 AM and we just both stayed up after that. We had many boats in close range and it was important to be watchful. But tired as we are tonight, I must say it feels really
fantastic to be here in Australia. Now it is time for dinner after which we will go straight to bed. Tomorrow we start our explorations here with trip into downtown Bundaberg and the first of the rally activities in the evening. We have to rest up for the festivities.